ST. PAUL, Minn. and TUCSON — The Center for Victims of Torture™ (CVT) today issued this statement as asylum seekers over the last weeks have been bussed or flown from the U.S. Southern border to various cities in the United States.
“This action to bus asylum seekers to interior cities as a political stunt is deplorable. CVT understands this because we provide services near the U.S. southern border in Tucson. These individuals and families could be and are CVT clients. Some are torture survivors, and from the stories they have shared with us, many are very vulnerable and have experienced violence at home or while they were in migration.
To finally arrive in the U.S. after months and years of turmoil and be put on a bus or plane to a city that is not ready with information that is inaccurate and misleading, is not only deeply unsettling and unfair but dehumanizing. It deprives asylum seekers of the basic dignity and respect that every person deserves.
CVT works with our partners at the Casa Alitas migrant shelter in Tucson in a program called Proyecto Mariposa. Our team provides specialized case management to connect clients to resources in their destination cities, including shelter, health care and mental health care, schooling and more. From this work, we know first-hand how important it is to have careful planning and support for this kind of journey, and we extend the kind of care and coordination each person needs to successfully achieve a meaningful and dignified life in the US.
“Seeking asylum is a protected and basic human right. We ask that asylum seekers be treated with dignity and not further traumatized by being hastily transported from the border without proper coordination or support. There is a way to design a trauma-informed asylum system; let’s work on fixing the problem instead of creating inhumane political theater.” – Leora Hudak, CVT migration partnerships program manager.
The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit organization with offices in Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, United States and additional project sites around the world.